The graph really is interesting – I would recommend magnifying it by clicking on it once!
A new study in Psychological Science shows a fascinating history of Americans’ emotional responses to the unfolding events, as recorded in the text messages sent on 9/11. In 2009, Wiki Leaks published the content of more than 500,000 texts from that day. Scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany decided to analyze the texts for emotion-related words. They categorized the emotional content of the texts as either sadness (e.g. crying), anxiety (e.g., worried), or anger (e.g., hate).
They then plotted the emotional content over a timeline of the day, starting from before the first plane crashed to after President Bush’s second evening address to the country.
Here’s what they found:
“We were able to determine that people did not react primarily with sadness; that they experienced a number of anxiety outbursts, but recovered quickly; and that they steadily became angrier.”
When you look at the graph, you see tiny spikes of anxiety through the day, a small wave of sadness, and a monstrous, growing wave of anger.